Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Best Ever Elk Burgers for the 4th of July

My book club (aka salon) is reading Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser this month. If you are familiar with the book you know that it reports an inside look at the history of fast food, the suppliers, the economics of keeping the food inexpensive and the politics of food safety, or lack thereof. I haven't eaten fast food in years...after this book I never will again. Google Books description in part reads:
"Eric Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. He hangs out with the teenagers who make the restaurants run and communes with those unlucky enough to hold America's most dangerous job -- meatpacker. He travels to Las Vegas for a giddily surreal franchisers' convention where Mikhail Gorbachev delivers the keynote address. He even ventures to England and Germany to clock the rate at which those countries are becoming fast food nations.
Along the way, Schlosser unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains' efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization -- a phenomenon launched by fast food.
FAST FOOD NATION is a groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that may change the way America thinks about the way it eats."

elk patty

The book supports my belief that eating organic, locally grown food is the best way to promote health, community, safety and economic policy. You won't want to eat low-cost supermarket beef again after reading the book...if you are fortunate enough to be able to purchase grass fed beef...please do so.  Since I spend most of my time in Taos, New Mexico these days, I am also able to easily find beef alternatives such as bison and elk. These choices are purported to be leaner than commercially grown beef with less cholesterol and the animals are treated humanely throughout their lives. My family likes the taste better than beef, and I like the fact that, with each purchase, I am supporting small, local ranchers. 

Today I am sharing my recipe for elk burgers. Due to the lower fat content, I add a bit of minced white onions to add some moisture. I also cook to medium rare. Please do go any further than "medium" when cooking...they will dry out too much with additional heat. Maybe give elk a try for the 4th of July?

Best Ever Elk Burgers
(makes 4)

1 lb ground elk
1/2 cup minced white onions
sea salt
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil (for grill)
4 whole wheat or sourdough hamburger buns
butter or olive oil
your favorite hamburger toppings i.e.
crisp lettuce leaves
sliced red onion
cheddar cheese, if desired

Combine elk and minced onions in a small bowl. Form meat into four patties. Using your thumb, make a depression in the center of each patty. (This will help prevent shrinkage) Generously season each patty with salt and pepper. Set aside

Prepare coals if using an outdoor grill or heat grill pan until hot. Grease grate or grill pan with olive oil. Grill burgers 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side. You want medium rare or any longer will result in dry, tough meat. If using cheese, add during the last minute of cooking to allow melting. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Butter or olive oil insides of each bun. Grill for one minute being careful to not let burn.

Add elk patties to buns and add your favorite toppings. Serve immediately

Summer means easy, breezy dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network's Summer Soiree we are celebrating the 4th of JulyDo you have a favorite 4th of July recipe? Or, if you are not from the state, a favorite summer picnic recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Red Beet Hummus Recipe with Lemony Yogurt
The Heritage Cook: 
Tangy Caprese Salad with Pickled Cherries (Gluten-Free)
Creative Culinary: 
July 4th Red, White and Blue Patriotic Poke Cake
Blue Corn Chip Crusted Fish Sticks with Red Pepper Coulis
The Lemon Bowl: 
3 Steps to Perfectly Cooked Sweet Corn
Bacon and Souffle: 
Red, White and Blue Bark
Healthy Eats: 
5 Frozen Treats for a Sweet Fourth
Taste with the Eyes: 
Dessert for the 4th of July: Elderflower Berry Pavlova
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Best Ever Elk Burgers For The 4th of July
Red or Green: 
Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Heirloom Tomato Pie
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Summer Raspberry Sorbet
Homemade Delish:
 4th of July Cheesecake
FN Dish: 
Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Best Slaw Recipes

I am a big fan of coleslaw, and I make it year round. As a side dish, topping for tacos or piled on top of a sandwich, this versatile dish can be prepared many ways. This is slaw week for Food Network's Summer Soiree, and I thought I would share a few of my slaw recipes with you.  Do you have a favorite? Please share in the comments section of the post.
Purple Cabbage Slaw
This slaw is full of crunchy cabbage and apples with a light dressing of seasoned rice vinegar, olive oil and a touch of honey.   Perfect with barbecue, grilled meat or poultry or as part of a salad dinner. Try added to sandwiches, wraps or tacos.  You can make it early in the holds well. Sometimes I throw in a small handful of chopped pistachio nuts for protein if I am doing a vegetarian meal, but this is not necessary.  By the way...Purple and blue fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. These nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells** from color wheel of fruits and vegetables 

Purple Cabbage Slaw
3 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 red delicious apple, cored and diced
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, optional

Add cabbage and apple to a large bowl.  In a jar with tight-fitting lid (I use mason jars for my vinaigrettes) add vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.  Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until combined. Drizzle half of vinaigrette over cabbage mixture.  Stir to combine.  Add more vinaigrette to your liking.  

This slaw keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Apple Cider Coleslaw

I am not a fan of overly creamy salads. They are too heavy for me and get soggy so quickly. I miss the crunch of the vegetables and the "healthy" factor. This version has only 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in the entire recipe and has a sweet/tart taste with the addition of apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Coleslaw
(6 servings)

2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, shredded
2  tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey mustard
1 tsp celery seeds
sea salt
black pepper

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Add cabbage, bell pepper and carrots to large bowl.  In a small bowl add vinegar, mayonnaise, 1 tbsp olive oil, mustard and celery seeds.  Whisk until combined. Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.Add additional tbsp olive oil if the vinaigrette looks too thick.

Pour half of vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. (Refrigerate remaining vinaigrette) Stir to combine.  Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. Remove from the fridge. Stir and add additional vinaigrette if desired but do not overdo...You do not want it to get soggy. Sprinkle almonds over salad and serve cold.

This slaw keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Do not add almonds until ready to serve.

Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce Vinaigrette

This is one of those recipes that you will make over and over again. Parties, pot, lucks, summer barbecues or "it's the middle of winter, and nothing is in season" dinners, the Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Vinaigrette Sauce fits the bill perfectly. Crunchy cabbage, fresh...whatever is in season...vegetables and a spicy peanut sauce come together beautifully. Serve as a side dish of course, but also add some grilled chicken or shrimp and you have a main dish. Top fish tacos or pulled pork sandwiches for a different take on classic items.

Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce Vinaigrette
(10- 12 servings)

1 medium head cabbage (green or purple) shredded
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, shredded (optional, only in season)
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
6  radishes, shredded
Peanut Sauce Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Pour half of Peanut Sauce over slaw and stir to combine. Add additional sauce to desired consistency. Refrigerate a minimum of 1 hour, or until cold. Serve topped with scallions, sesame seeds and peanuts.

Keeps refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Peanut Sauce Vinaigrette
1/4 cup organic natural peanut butter (with oil on top) Stir in oil before measuring
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2-3 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

 Add all ingredients (just 2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce) to the bowl of blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add 1-2 tablespoons water if sauce seems too thick. Taste and add the additional teaspoon of chile-garlic sauce if you want it a bit spicier. Set aside or refrigerate.

Summer means easy, breezy dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network's Summer Soiree we are celebrating SlawsDo you have a favorite slaw recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Asian Braised Cabbage Slaw with Black Rice and Arugula
The Heritage Cook: 
Gluten-Free Red and Green Slaw
Creative Culinary: 
Coleslaw with Warm Bacon Dressing
Healthy Eats: 
7 Healthy Slaws for Every Palate
Virtually Homemade: 
Easy Asian Slaw with Roasted Chicken
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
The Best Slaw Recipes
Taste with the Eyes: 
Fancy Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas
The Cultural Dish:
 Mac Nut Slaw (Hawaiian Cole Slaw)
Asian Slaw
Homemade Delish: 
Jalapeno and Peach Slaw
Daisy at Home: 
Fresh Vegetable Slaw
The Mom 100: 
Creamy Blue Cheese and Bacon Coleslaw
FN Dish: 
It's Slaw Good: 6 Must-Make Summertime Slaws


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Buffums" Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I grew up in the retail clothing business. My first job was as a "gift wrap girl" during the holidays when I was sixteen. I soon became a sales person, "keyholder" and was promoted to assistant manager my freshman year of college. I worked retail all through college and was promoted to a store manager position when I was a sophomore. I was transferred to the Santa Anita Mall in Southern California, and my store was next to a now defunct department store called Buffums.

Buffums was an upscale department store...designer labels, crystal chandeliers, and restaurants where "ladies who lunched" dressed up in smart suits, gloves and matching pumps and handbags. I loved that restaurant and would take my lunch break there whenever possible. I often ordered their famous chicken salad sandwich...which, if memory serves (this was a looong time ago), included grapes in the salad with sliced toasted almonds sprinkled on top. The bread was toasted raisin, and the combination of fruit, nuts and chicken salad was delicious. I forgot about this sandwich until the other day when I recreated it for a luncheon. It was a hit. Memories, so very special. Enjoy!

"Buffums" Chicken Salad Sandwiches
(makes 4)

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup red or green seedless grapes, cut in quarters
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
small pinch sea salt
small pinch black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
8 slices raisin bread. toasted

Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed. Divide evenly between 4 slices of bread. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the chicken salad. Top each sandwich with remaining bread and slice diagonally. Serve immediately.

Click Here For Printer Friendly Recipe

Did I remember this recipe incorrectly? If you ate the chicken salad at Buffums and have the correct recipe, please let me know in the comments section of this post. I googled to no avail.

Summer means easy, breezy dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network's Summer Soiree we are celebrating ChickenDo you have a favorite chicken recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Healthy Chicken Parmesan with Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce
The Lemon Bowl: 
Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken
The Heritage Cook: 
The World's Easiest BBQ Chicken
Creative Culinary: 
Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Homemade Delish: 
Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
Daisy at Home: 
Perfect Fried Chicken with 5 Dipping Sauces
Healthy Eats: 
6 Reasons Not to Write Off Chicken — Summer Soiree
Red or Green: 
Spicy Pesto Chicken Bruschetta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
"Buffums" Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Asian-Style Grilled Chicken Thighs
Domesticate Me: 
Chicken and Goat Cheese Burgers with Peaches, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Taste with the Eyes: 
Gochujang Chicken Adobo
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Tandoori Chicken
Bacon and Soufflé: 
BBQ Chicken Pizza
FN Dish: 
The 6 Essential Chicken Recipes of Summer


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.